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Heart Failure Kills George Carlin

Comedian George Carlin is dead at age 71. The New York Daily News reports that he died of heart failure on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Carlin had become a beloved comedy old-timer over the last 15 years, nearly (and weirdly) in the same way that clean-talking jokers like Bob Hope and Jack Benny once did at the ends of their careers.

Having earned fame as a free-spoken and foulmouthed rule-breaker, Carlin must have found it amusing that his famous “seven words you can never say on television” were now used freely on television, the Internet, and by seemingly every standup comedian in the land.

For that matter, the routine is now regarded as a free speech landmark, worthy of straight-faced dissection and analysis in law schools.

Carlin was a co-founder of, the online comedy record store. His welcome message there offers a taste of the offhand Carlin bite:

“Hi. This is your old pal, George Carlin, welcoming you to, where dreams come true, wishes have wings, and no one goes to the bathroom.

We’re just here for the fun, folks. Those people in Rwanda and Chechnya will have to take care of themselves. We don’t deal with stuff like that, except, of course, in a humorous way, to make fun of those who are suffering and to have some laughs at their expense. The world is really enjoyable if you know how to laugh at the people whose lives are miserable.

I certainly hope you’re not one of those people who thinks life is real serious and deserves all kinds of deep thought and high purpose. Actually, life is more like a convenience store: you park in the lot, go inside, buy a few items, pay the man and drive home. No mystery there.”

Carlin had recently been chosen by the Kennedy Center to receive the eleventh annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this coming November. Past winners include Steve Martin and Richard Pryor.

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